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Son recovers from Covid-19 only to be shot dead during protests while walking along road

‘Why kill our son?’ — father of Durban man gunned down as SA reels from violence

13 July 2021 - 11:07 By jessica levitt
Trevor Govender was gunned down in Phoenix, Durban, on July 12.
Trevor Govender was gunned down in Phoenix, Durban, on July 12.
Image: Facebook/Trevor Govender

“He was the most humble and gentle child in this world. That’s the sad part. To go out like that, to get shot, just like that. Everything is gone. Everything.”

Basil Govender, 62, said his son Trevor, 35, and his brother decided on Monday to go for a walk near their home in Phoenix, Durban. Trevor had recently recovered from Covid-19 and, as a health fanatic, was keen to get back into shape.

However, what was meant to be the start of his journey back to health and fitness ended in tragedy when the brothers apparently got caught up in the violence that has ripped through SA this week.

Basil said his sons were walking on a road when a car approached, knocked them over and those inside the vehicle fired shots at them. Trevor was hit. His brother held him in his arms as he took his last breath. 

“His brother died in his arms. He is not in the right frame of mind for anything. To see that. He tried everything to save him. He tried.”

Community members set up barricades to stop looters ruining the area. The looters were going into homes and  burning cars.
Phoenix CPF chair Umesh Singh

Phoenix community police forum (CPF) chairperson Umesh Singh confirmed Govender was shot dead during protests. Singh said medical assistance for Govender was delayed because of the looting. 

“Community members set up barricades to stop looters ruining the area. The looters were going into homes and burning cars. They were trying to protect the community. The situation is still tense.”

Widespread rioting has gripped SA as thousands have looted shops, burnt cars and attacked residents and police in the wake of former president Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment last week.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala confirmed 26 people have died in the province as a result of the violence.

On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the loss of human life amid the violence was the greatest cost of all. He said many South Africans were feeling anxious and afraid, calling the violence something “rarely seen” in the country's democracy.

Ramaphosa named some of the people who had lost their lives to the violence and promised strong action against looters.

Trevor worked as a security guard at the SA Reserve Bank. He took his job seriously, said his dad.

“Ask them at the bank. They’ll tell you. He was dedicated. He loved what he did.”

He said his son “never swore, was obedient” and was “his mother’s boy”.

Trevor lived with his parents. When the family was isolating after they tested positive for Covid-19, Trevor looked after them.

“He was supporting us, getting us medicine. Our last conversation was on the balcony this morning (Monday). He came around and asked: ‘Dad, how are you feeling?’ He said, ‘You are looking well and breathing well’.”

Basil said the family is still in a state of shock and anger. 

“Young children are doing this. You see them walking around carrying beer and food they have stolen. They want to damage the country. We worked for what we got. I worked. I’m 62 and at home. This is not the elderly. This is the youth.”

His son’s death has also left him with many questions.

“We should worry about uplifting ourselves. Now we lose a good child. If Zuma stole money, he never gave it to us. He never gave it to the people looting. So why this? Why kill a child? Now everything is gone.”